The Grown-Up Bohemian Dining Room

Situated just off of the living room, it made sense to keep the Bohemian party going in Darby's dining room. And so we did! 


As a refresher, we started with a huge room, full of super cute details, but not a ton of personality or warmth. I wanted the dining room to flow well with the living room, but also be a bit more restrained in it's color palate and styling – a sort of Scandinavian/Bohemian blend.   

Painting the top portion of the walls Valspar's Sensual Jade simultaneously added some dramatic oomph and instant coziness.  


The other major concern were the original sconces. They weren't attached to a light switch in the room, and in fact, all operated independently from each other – the on/off option achieved only by way of a brave oven-mitted soul tightening or loosening the bulbs.

Darby had already looked into the installation of a light switch, but was informed that combining the separate wiring on all four light fixtures would be cumbersome and labor intensive – not limited to the extensive destruction of the plaster and lath walls. She opted to forgo that route and instead determined that new sconces with local on/off operation would be the next best option.   

We chose the Plum and Bow Alba sconces from Urban Outfitters (sadly sold out now) because they had built in switches. Originally meant to be plugged into an outlet, Darby's electrician easily hardwired them into the wall instead and they fit the space like a dream. Seriously, I die for those sconces. They're understated with a vintage vibe that fits so well with the house; and the brushed brass with that wall color, yes, just yes. 

The two prints on either side of the sconces are some of my favorite elements in the room. My friend Tiffani offered up the print on the right from her personal collection because it looked so much like the ones I'd shown in the mood board. A few weeks later, in a bit of kismet, I stumbled across the one on the left while at an estate sale. Upon further high-brow research, Wikipedia told me they were derivative of an ancient Mexican paper craft called Amate – this specific style popularized and made readily accessible in the 60s. Framed in some affordable 11x14 frames from Target they look punchy and modern.


One of the first things you see upon walking into the room is the adorable window alcove. To up the impact and also define its purpose a bit more I created a solo seating area – tucked just slightly away and privy to that tranquil early morning light, a spot for savoring the last drop of coffee and last bit of quiet before the rest of the house comes alive. I made the curtains out of a Nate Berkus upholstery weight fabric, plopped a vintage wicker Acapulco chair down, and filled the rest of the space with plants from Darby's teaming collection. 



After months scouring craigslist for a light or medium toned, simple, dining room table that could easily seat 8+ and was within my price range, I gave up and decided to just build it. Ok, so I'm no carpenter, and this table is far from perfect, but I guess I'm naive and just foolish enough to tackle these tasks when I'm unable to find the right peace ready-made. 

Don't worry, at some point I'll most likely devote an entire post to the foible-ridden tale of its construction. 


Actually, so much of this design process revolved around hours of obsessive Craigslist searching. I'd find the perfect piece only to discover it was already sold, or it was located in a small town 4 hours away, or it was just slightly too big, too small, or most often too expensive for the space. Luck finally came through when I discovered this darling petite hutch – perfect color, perfect shape, perfect details.

Sitting atop the hutch is a cool silhouette profile of Darby and her husband done by local artist Graham Burkum (you can reach him at Awful Creative). 

Grown-Up Bohemian Dining Room-11.jpg

So that is Darby's new Grown-Up Bohemian (with a subtle Scandi bent) dining room! I'll leave you with this:


* Thank you Bethany Gilbert for the incredible AFTER photos!

Plans for the Grown-Up Bohemian Dining Room

Heyo! It wasn't just one room. I got to do Darby's dining room too! For the discerning readers who spotted the hints of dramatic green walls while reading the living room reveal, this comes as no surprise. 


When we met to discuss the design the focus was primarily on the living room with an "if there's enough money left over I'd love to see something different in the dining room" kinda vibe. The room is huge – perfect for hosting parties and entertaining, which Darby loves to do. Just like the living room it's also full of charming details like the chair rail, built in sconces, and window alcove. However, despite it's charm, for Darby, it still always felt a little cold and uninviting – and certainly not as conducive as it could be to spending hours around a table, sharing stories and a meal with good company.      

Immediately, I wanted to do a rich, saturated color to enhance the existing chair rail detail and make the room feel cozier. Presenting the idea of painting the whole room a dark teal was sort of intimidating – accent walls are one thing, entire rooms are sometimes a harder sell. So I gave her two options: 1. Paint the top of the walls dark, leave the bottom white (my pick), 2. paint the bottom dark, go light on top. Darby didn't hesitate and picked option 1. Yesssssssss.

I thought it would be best to let the wall color be the star so I wanted to move the rest of the room toward a sort of Scandinavian simplicity – i.e. black modern windsor chairs, a lighter table to better contrast with the floors and dark walls, simple styling. I did want to retain a bit of that Grown-Up Bohemian vibe from the living room, though, so I included the punch of color and pattern in the Mexican Folk Art and the textured pattern in the floor length neutral curtains. Also, plants on plants on plants. 

This room didn't stray too far from the mood board (well, minus not running across a gorgeous brass sideboard while thrifting), and I totally dig how it came together. Check back soon to see the transformation!